Morning, morning, one after another, barely mornings
when it’s still dark outside.
December, here you are again.
Here you are again in another strange place.
Car starts up loud then idles slowly,
waits for windows to unfog,
you are greeted by
an overflowing bag of empty coffee cups
hooked over the lock of the passenger seatbelt
and a thought:
“I should really vacuum this
thing out”, which disappears as soon
as you push from reverse to drive.
You spend evenings poring over
phone books, Newfoundland Quarterlies,
maps and indexes
of streets renamed or redeveloped out
Did you know that City Hall sits smugly
on the side of a hill where there once was slum?
Empire was only Old Railway Road
and Churchill Park didn’t work out quite as planned.
My grandfather had cousins that used
to live in houses that stood
where the overpass rising to the Crosstown Arterial
takes off from New Gower Street.
I wore a tie and slung coffee half a lifetime
ago in a place where a Tim Horton’s is now.
I wonder what the results would be
if we added up all the time we’ve spent
in places that no longer exist, as least
not as we existed in them.
All our old apartments,
all our jobs we lost when places closed,
all the houses someone else fixed up.
All the rooms we huddled in
through winters where other people huddle
now, but we were there once,
gone or not
we were there once.
All the places we could no longer
physically stand in whether we wanted to
all the people we lost track of,
all the ideas we lost hold of,
all the thoughts we thought but never said.
All the things we tore down to make room for growth,
forgetting that which we leave
can still keep us.
But we find places still,
and change is good,
and everything ends eventually,
and we find new rooms in which
to begin new stories,
make new memories in places where
others are now gone from.